My name is Harmony Kmieciak, I am 43 years old and BRCA 1 positive. I also Factor V Leiden, which made my decision on what to do a little more complicated. There was family history of breast cancer from my paternal aunt and grandmother. Recently my dad has been tested and is himself BRCA 1 positive and has Factor V Leiden. I am the mother to 4 boys, young men ages 25,22,18 and 3. My older children will be tested for both genes as well.
With my family history and being BRCA1 positive, my breast surgeon said “it was not if I get cancer, but when”. Hearing that helped me make my decision to do the preventative double mastectomy. I am also on blood thinners for life and if I had chose to wait and watch, and did develop cancer, my medicine interacts with some of the medications used in chemotherapy. So learning this too confirmed to myself that I was indeed making the right decision.
My journey to take my life back began in Sept 2018 when I finished my hysterectomy to prevent getting ovarian cancer, from the BRCA 1. Shortly after in Nov 2018, I had my double mastectomy with reconstruction started. I had expanders, which were filled almost all the way at the time of surgery, so when I awoke it seemed like I still had breasts of some sort. During the expanding time I only had to have one fill. Healing was rough, but I kept reminding myself was I was doing this. On Feb 22, 2019 I had my exchange surgery to smooth round silicone implants. I am now still in healing process from this, but it does feel better to be on the other side and done with surgeries.
I look forward now to getting back in shape and truly taking my life back, not letting BRCA1 win, or my Factor V complications. I was in the medical field for 17 years, working in pediatrics and then adults. I loved helping and taking care of others. Going through this has made me realize how important it is for me to take care of myself also. Self care and self love have to be at the forefront in order to help others.
I look forward to working with others that are on their own journey with breast cancer or BRCA1, even Factor V Leiden as well.